Government cloud computing: what's in store this parliament?

We make some predictions on how the shape of cloud computing in government might change over the next five years.

Posted on 27 May 2015 - G-Cloud
Tibus BY Tibus

Today has seen the State Opening of Parliament take place as the new Conservative government sets out its agenda for the next five years.

Away from the Queen's Speech, here at Tibus we've been pondering what the new parliament might hold for government cloud computing. As G-Cloud suppliers to public sector bodies via the government's own Digital Marketplace, it could be us that ends up implementing any new or changing use of cloud technology over the next five years. With that in mind, we've been predicting what might be in store this parliament.

5 predictions for government cloud computing during this parliament

1. G-Cloud use to increase dramatically

Total government IT costs were £4.3bn last year. Sales through G-Cloud from its inception until March 2015 were £559m. G-Cloud’s stated target was to account for 50 per cent of all IT spend by 2015. It has fallen short of that, but expect it to get much closer over the course of the next parliament, especially as long‑standing IT contracts start to expire.

2. Time to deployment will matter more

Everybody from government ministers to project managers likes to see IT projects signed-off on time. But in this parliament time to deployment will shift from being a source of professional pride to being a key performance indicator. Efficiency savings will be the order of the day over the next five years and speedy procurement and delivery are both quick wins in this regard. G-Cloud offers a far more nimble way to buy than the traditional procurement processes.

3. IT buyers to spend little but more often

Public sector IT buyers will finally catch up with most other digital consumers during this parliament. Gone are the days of the album, the computer program and (soon) the 15-year IT contract. In their place are the single download, the app and more flexible IT spending. G-Cloud offers procurement manager the opportunity to buy neatly packaged IT services as and when they need them.

4. Government as a Platform (GaaP) to start to take its course

In a clear indication of what civil servants feel is on the agenda for cloud computing in this parliament, before the election the head of the Government Digital Service Mike Bracken wrote a blog post entitled: “Government as a Platform: the next phase of digital transformation." This would see public sector IT services built so that they work across government, whereas currently many systems are procured by individual departments or bodies in a process that results in duplication. The most example of how GaaP would work is a single payment system that would underpin payments for council tax, prescriptions, income tax and a host of other services.

Ultimately, this would allow a more efficient and cost-effective government IT infrastructure and a more intuitive experience for customers. How far along will this be in five years' time? We have our doubts that the grand vision of GaaP will be anywhere close to completion. What is certain is that people now expect more from goverment IT, which leads us to...

 5. Public sector services to be personalised to the customer

When we browse the BBC News website or shop on Amazon, we expect the website to know a bit about who we are and what's of interest. Expect government platforms to gradual edge towards a more personalised approach over the course of the parliament. Core government IT systems are too unwieldy to be used in this way, but G-Cloud services could be used to add a presentation layer to the front-end so that citizens feel they're getting a similar level of support from public sector bodies. This is partly this is what customers now expect, but also provides a stop-gap while GaaP is gradually implemented.

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